Insurancewith Blog

Thursday, 26 June 2014

101 Things to do When You Survive Update: Greig’s Great American Adventure

If you’re new to our blog, we started sponsoring Greig in 2013 for his incredible ‘anti-bucket list’ 101 Things to do When You Survive. Since then, he’s travelled around Costa Rica , Ecuador,Bolivia, the Galapagos, Argentina and most of the rest of South America.

Greig continues his journey around the world with a trip to North America. Whilst he was planning to see more of South America before he moved on, he was given the opportunity to take part in AngelRide, a unique athletic endurance experience that involves a 135-mile bike ride, over 2 days in support of Hole in the Wall’s Hospital Outreach Program, which helps children with terminal illnesses – something Greig couldn’t turn down. Incredibly, he raised over £2,000 for the organisation, overcame a huge physical challenge and inspired us all – anything is possible, even after cancer, operations and blood clots.

Here's a video of Greig finishing, we're so proud!: 

After the AngelRide, Greig caught up with friends Dave and Jim, who arranged for them all on a dream road trip around the Western parts of the US. First stop was San Francisco, where Greig recovered first and foremost with plenty of sleep and food at Lori’s diner, but then managed to visit Alcatraz (where Greig purchased his first souvenir – a baseball), the Muir woods (home to the giant Redwood trees) and walked across the iconic Golden Gate Bridge.

Yosemite National Park was next – renowned for its stunning natural beauty with overpowering granite cliffs, huge waterfalls, endless forests and the Giant Sequoia trees – they’re so big you can fit under the roots. Next on the itinerary was Zion Park and Death Valley, the hottest place on Earth and which sounds awful and miserable, but Greig found it to be beautiful, with sweeping landscapes, incredible sand dunes and a still silence he’d never experienced before.

Monument Valley and the Grand Canyon are some of the most iconic landscapes known to man, having been used in films and documentaries about the unique scenery since it became possible. Greig and the boys were lucky enough to stay the night inside the valley, watching the sunset and both the moon then the sun rise in the sky above the massive rock formations below – what an impressive sight.

We’re also really proud of Greig gaining a place on the ‘Happy List’ as a recognised ‘life enhancer’. The list is compiled by the Independent on Sunday newspaper of 100 people in the UK who make life better for others. Greig is humbled by the award, and we fully understand why he’s on there - inspiring others and giving them hope when they feel there might not be cause to is something that Greig doesn’t have to work hard at to accomplish. Well done Greig!

Our next 101 update will be our last for this leg of Greig’s trip as Greig is returning home to the UK on the 29th July, but when he starts up his travels again in mid-September, Insurancewith will be sponsoring him again. We will be following him on his new adventures with new blog posts and updates for you soon.


Tuesday, 27 May 2014

FACT visit

On 13th May I visited Joanne Smith in Newcastle. Joanne is the founder and CEO of one of the charities that Insurancewith supports, FACT (Fighting All Cancers Together). The visit was for a talk and advice session for FACT service users on travel insurance for people diagnosed with cancer.

We’ve been supporting FACT since Insurancewith was first launched, actually FACT were the first charity we supported. We believe in the organisation’s aims to support not only those suffering from cancer, but everyone affected by it. Helping people to socialise, discuss common issues and become friends with people in a similar situation to their own is a focus at FACT, which is why I do these talks for them on a regular basis.  I talked to the audience about my own experience with cancer and how it bought about the creation of Insurancewith; through my experience I can relate to a lot of their  fears and questions about travel insurance and traveling in general after a cancer diagnosis.

By describing our medical screening process online and our unique 1-2-1 medical screening off line, I highlight how we are different from other providers, explaining how we can offer people cover specific to their medical situation, even if they don’t think it will affect them whilst they’re away.

Customers who exclude their medical conditions in fear of an expensive premium was another talking point. I explained that just because someone declares a medical condition does not mean that they will automatically be charged more money, we just need to be aware of all medical conditions so we can assess the risk correctly.  Many people who apply for specialist medical travel insurance aren’t aware that if they don’t mention their medical condition they could risk a claim being declined if the claim they make is as a result of the medical condition or the treatment of it.

I also spoke about how the EHIC card is not a substitute for travel insurance.  It doesn’t cover the many costs that travel insurance policies do, there are many differing rules throughout Europe of what is covered under the state health service and what you are and are not liable to pay under the EHIC scheme. One thing you definitely won’t be covered for is repatriation back to the UK.

More exciting discussions on my visit was FACT Carer Awards on the 15th November, something which Insurancewith are proud to be a sponsor of. The purpose of the Carer Awards is to raise recognition for both adult and young carers who have selflessly supported someone throughout their cancer journey or have done something to support others throughout their individual cancer experience.

We’re proud to sponsor such an event, especially as it promotes some of FACT’s key values – support, friendship, loyalty, and most importantly, positive attitudes
101 Things to Do When You Survive Update – Greig’s South American tour

We’re checking up with Greig again as he continues his inspirational journey around the world, fulfilling his 101 Things to Do When You Survive ‘anti-bucket list’. We began sponsoring Greig for his incredible idea in 2013 when he came to us for medical travel insurance for his previous diagnoses and pre-existing medical condition, and 9 months down the line he’s still making us proud as he explores South America.

Our last blog post left Greig standing on the Equator in Ecuador before ticking off Thing #9 on his list, watching the sunrise at Machu Picchu. Throughout the past couple of months Greig’s been keeping busy – visiting the silver mines in Potosi, Bolivia, wine-tasting in Mendoza, Argentina (where the bus journeys there were an adventure in themselves), climbing the impressively-sized Volcano Villaricca in Chile - a test of his mental strength rather than his physical, learning the tango in Buenos Aires, and even supporting his brother Barry as he ran 240 km (the equivalent to two marathons in a day) across the Sahara Desert in aid of prostate cancer.

We catch up with him in La Paz, Bolivia, as Greig embarks on a bike ride down the most dangerous road in the world – one which has claimed thousands of lives- as the thin track can only hold the width of a single vehicle, with 600 metre vertical drops on the side into jungle below. However, despite the fear of cycling 64 kilometres at a descent of 3,000m, Greig assures those following his journey that even those with struggling fitness levels could complete this, and safely.

Soon after La Paz, Greig visited the Dinosaur Park in the capital of Bolivia, Sucre. Here, he indulged his inner natural geography fan as he saw fossilised dinosaur footprints on the side of a mountain, created by the movement of the tectonic plates. Similarly, when Greig reached Argentina, he took part in the Perito Moreno Glacier hiking tour. Having been mesmerised by glaciers since he was a child, the 1 hour 45 minute trek across the 30km long, 5 km wide and 60m high glacier, one of the only advancing glaciers in the world was a fantastic experience.
The Torres del Paine National Park in Southern Patagonia, Chile proved to be tough, where Greig took part in a 6 day hike, walking for 14 km a day through what every possible weather. Sun, rain and snow ensured that Greig was both cold and exhausted. However, known for his positivity and despite being tired, freezing and in pain, he managed to enjoy the incredible sights the Park has to offer; glaciers, waterfalls, towering mountains, snow-covered forests and green-coloured lakes left Greig in awe.

Greig’s project and journey reminds us all that even if you’re having or have had treatment or an operation, or even if you’re fighting cancer, you can regain your strength to do everything you could've done before your diagnosis, or even more. We’re thrilled to be sponsoring Greig and are proud of everything he’s achieved so far. You can catch up with him on his website, or through his 101 Facebook page. 

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

We have a winner!

In January we posted a blog announcing our monthly prize draw for one lucky customer to win a £15 Amazon Voucher per month just for leaving a review about InsuranceWith on our Trustpilot page

We really look forward to hearing your feedback about your experience with InsuranceWith, and TrustPilot is a great site to do this on. We receive a great amount of supportive and positive comments each month which we’re really grateful for, but we also encourage any constructive criticism so we can regularly improve our customer’s experience. Our prize draw is taken from the selection of customers who leave comments and feedback on our TrustPilot page.

I am very happy to announce that the winner of our April £15 Amazon voucher is Mr Asher from Scotland who left the following review:

I have used Insurancewith on many occasions for European holidays, Caribbean Cruises and have just taken out Worldwide cover for our forthcoming trip to Australia. My wife has multiple myeloma but is at the moment in good remission after stem cell transplant in November 2010. Insurancewith have been a pleasure to deal with on every occasion we have contacted them, paperwork has always been delivered on time and always accurate. They really are a very professional operation and I would not hesitate to commend them to anyone looking for top quality insurance at a very fair price, in particular the system they use by way of setting an excess on each person. This is a very fair system in as much as the excess only applies if you make a claim. You will find many other companies charge a much higher price at the outset. This is I think is Insurancewiths unique selling point. A brilliant company who always put the customer first.”

Photo courtesy of Caia Image
We contacted Mr Asher to let him know he was our competition winner and he said this:
It's great to be a winner with Insurancewith. 
I will pass the Amazon voucher to my wife who will top up her Kindle with a few books for her next trip. “

We wish Mr Asher the best for his next trip and hope his wife finds some great reads to travel with.

If you’re an InsuranceWith customer and would like a chance to win an Amazon voucher similar to Mr Asher, just leave your feedback on the InsuranceWith TrustPilot page. Your comments can be about anything, our prices, our products or our customer service – we appreciate any feedback you can give us, and you name will automatically be entered into the next prize draw.

If you want to read the full terms and conditions of the prize draw, please visit our original blog post here.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Easter Holidays

With the Easter Bank Holidays fast approaching many of our medical travel insurance customers have been looking for inspiration of where to go. Whether you’re looking to whisk the family away for the term break or just want to enjoy a break before the holiday season gets expensive and crowded, a European city break is ideal.
With Europe sitting vastly unexplored on your doorstep, a four night break in some of the continent’s best cities are available at the end of a short flight.

London may not seem like an obvious choice, but for those that just want a break from the boring humdrum of everyday routine, London can offer a huge amount to do for a cheaper price than going abroad. Kew Gardens are just beginning to blossom this time of year and most of the gardens have level or ramped floor for those with limited mobility. For those with young families, Kew are also hosting Easter egg hunts throughout the school break. You can visit the real life fluffy ducks and eggs at the WWT London Wetland Centre, which also provides accessible wheelchair facilities.

The tube provides wheelchair access for all of their stations with lifts, but check before you travel that the size of the lift is adequate, and that you are able to manage any gap between the station and the train. The Transport for London website will tell you of any details about planned work or lifts that are out of use.

Paris celebrates Easter over the weekend of the 20th-21st April, and Easter in Paris is all about chocolate. Join in on the Easter brunch and Easter egg hunt at the Fouquet’s Barrière Hotel with disabled access, or visit Choco-story, the gourmet chocolate making museum, with exhibits and chocolate-making workshops for everyone to enjoy and a lift for those with limited mobility to reach all floors.

Both these attractions are easily accessible by Metro, which unfortunately is unsuitable for those with wheelchairs or limited mobility. Instead, buses and the RAR system in Paris have in recent years become a lot more accommodating and regularly run throughout the city.

Berlin won the European City Access Award in 2013, recognising its grand efforts in making the city disability-friendly. All bus and tram services, and even the S- and U-Bahn routes offer wheelchair access, and you can check online whether your stop provides adequate accessibility.

The Lübars family farm is great for visiting as a family. Easter brunches are usually served, with pony rides, egg colouring and special Easter bread cooked fresh on-site for kids to enjoy. For others, the Easter Knight’s Pageant at the Zitadelle Spandau offers an exciting celebration of Easter – from historical-themed markets with handicraft stands and delicacies. There is even jesters and dancers who perform for you, and a knight’s tournament as the highlight of the day.

Known worldwide as a capital of culture and famous for its architecture, the Gaudi buildings are a must-see when visiting Barcelona. As a mark of its varied heritage, the entire city is mixed in with a diverse mix of parks, buildings and other sights. Park Güell is surprisingly wheelchair accessible- situated at the top of a hill with buildings and gardens built into it, it provides a beautiful foreground to the city. To celebrate Easter, every Spanish town and city celebrate ‘Semana Santa’ by holding a procession celebrating the Virgin Mary, and offering inter-weaved palm leaves or a dough ring with chocolate figures on. Throughout Spanish culture Semana Santa is very important and extensively celebrated.

Barcelona’s Metro system offers disabled access on most of its stations, however only one line (the Purple line) offers lift access at all of its stops, but extensive work is being done across Barcelona to make it more wheelchair-friendly.

Like Berlin, Salzburg won the European City Access Award in 2012, so countless attractions, bars, hotels and restaurants are ‘barrier-free’, allowing you to enjoy your holiday to the full, and the railway in particular is wheelchair-friendly.
For Easter, Salzburg hold their annual Easter festival – one of the most renowned and famous classical festivals in the world, offering an extensive programme of operatic, choral, and orchestral concerts at an impressive level.
Alternatively, for those with younger families, the Open Air Museum also offers tourists the chance to decorate their own eggs, tie ‘Palmbuschen’ bouquets and making Easter baskets filled with ham, eggs, cheese, bacon, butter, sausages and honey from local farms.

Wherever you end up spending your Easter break, home or away, we hope you have a lovely time.

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Travel Insurance and Cancer

People all have the same reasons for wanting to travel: to see new places, meet new people, experience new things, visit someone or somewhere they love, to work, or just to relax. Even if you haven't been affected by cancer, your motivations for going away are likely to be the same as someone who has been, and more often than not those fighting cancer often bring forward trips as a way to experience something they always wanted to, or as a chance to get away and recover. For someone who has been or is ill, getting away from the routine of check-ups, doctors and medical care can be an ideal chance to recover somewhere relaxing and different.

Taking out travel insurance to ensure you're covered for any possible medical treatment whilst away from home is essential, as you want to be able to claim for emergency medical costs and care abroad, even if the treatment you're receiving is as a result of illness. In destinations such as the US, or outside Europe, the medical costs can become phenomenal, especially if they include flying you back home for further treatment.

Getting travel insurance after you've been diagnosed with something like cancer can make things complicated, difficult and expensive. From the insurance company's point of view, you are a bigger risk having already been ill, and therefore are more likely to need them to pay for medical treatment, or to cancel your holiday last minute. Insurancewith treats each customer as an individual, assessing their personal medical situation in detail with empathy and expert advice. CD, from Surrey said, “This is the second policy I’ve taken with you – the advisors I spoke to during the screening process have been very helpful and knowledgeable. And your quotes have been very affordable compared to others I’ve had. You are over £1,000 cheaper”

Cancer patients often find the online screening process of many travel insurance providers difficult as they cannot always ‘tick all the boxes’, and in some cases, insurers 'say no to cancer' and refuse cover to people who have suffered with the illness because it proves too much of a risk to insure. Questions about diagnosis, treatment and prognosis are common among many insurance providers' medical screening tests and can sometimes be distressing to those suffering with the illness. With Insurancewith's innovative medical screening process, the customer actually talks to a personal risk specialist, who helps custom-build their quote based on their individual medical situation. JD, from Surrey praises our inclusive travel insurance after they bought a policy for his mum: “Just wanted to say a big thank you to you and all your staff for not saying No to Cancer and arranging travel insurance for my mum. It meant the world to us as a family, allowing us to go as a family back to our house in Florida for a much needed holiday. After numerous calls to other companies, we had given up, Mum and Dad were so disappointed, until you called us back with great news and your quote”.

With Insurancewith, our underwriters give our customers a bespoke quote based on the actual risk rather than the perceived risk of their situation, and our award-winning 1-2-1 medical screening system helps generate a fair quote for our customers. We work with the medical charity FACT (Fighting All Cancers Together) in order to keep our questionnaires and advice up-to-date which is incredibly useful, especially when cancer-related medicine is constantly evolving.

  Below is a testimonial from KB, from the West Midlands, who recently took out some Insurancewith cover, who commends our customer service and the medical advice that they received:
“A couple of weeks ago you gave me some insurance to go on holiday.  We had a lovely holiday thanks to you covering me with everything that is going on, and I was able to have a very lovely holiday.  I would like to thank you very much for your service and I do hope we will be able to use you again later on in the year.  It was all very traumatic for me and you made it very easy and very nice.  Thank you so much for being so helpful, everyone was so kind guiding me through all the medical side of things.  It was all perfect, thank you very much for your help and if I’m able to travel again I will be back with you.”

For many, cancer won't affect their ability to travel or where they go. Cancer comes in many varying forms with different states and grades, so two people with the same type of cancer may have different treatments and needs. We at Insurancewith are proud of their ability to offer 98% of customers who can't 'tick all the boxes', a bespoke, reasonable quote for our comprehensive cover, and with it, the ability to escape and relax abroad. JC, from Yorkshire commended Insurancewith on their ability to provide them with cover:
“Thank you once again for enabling me to enjoy another memory with my friends.  Many thanks, you really do make a difference”

101 Things To Do When You Survive: Update on Greig's travels

  The story of Greig Trout's journey around the world with the aim of helping those who are still or have experienced cancer, has already been the focus of two previous posts on the Insurancewith blog, and we're proud to still be sponsoring Greig as he continues ticking off things on his list whilst inspiring so many others.

  Our last 101 blog post left Greig following his check up in San Jose, Costa Rica, with the rest of South America ahead of him. Fighting fit and keen to move on in his travels, we joined him following some tricky Spanish language classes in Antigua. Greig then trekked to the beautiful Lake Atitlan in Guatemala and watched the sunrise, having taken only three days to complete the climb carrying his own equipment, which is a great achievement. After Guatemala came Belize, where Greig posted a video on his website from a tropical island, which highlighted the body image issues that come with having cancer scars, reminding his video followers that have experienced cancer that the scars are just a mark of the journey you've been through.

  Greig posted a video from the Galapagos, the beautiful and unique islands that inspired Darwin's theory of evolution, and he celebrated his birthday, what a great way to spend it! Along with swimming with the sea turtles and seeing incredible wildlife, Greig told fellow cancer fighters that he's appreciated and lived every single minute to the full after his second all-clear, which became poignant after turning 34, especially after his bowel cancer diagnosis at 30 had him thinking about death.

  In his most recent video, when those inspired by his journey, wanting to do something similar asked Greig how he got the money to do the wonderful things he's doing, he kindly mentioned the Insurancewith sponsorship he was receiving, and how easy and affordable our cover was. Whilst getting insurance after a diagnosis can be difficult or expensive, we understand that survivors do reassess their lives post-cancer and want to live life to the full, in a variety of exciting ways, just as Greig is demonstrating.

  After standing on the equator in Ecuador, abseiling down a waterfall in Peru, and watching the sunrise at the end of an incredible cycling, trekking and zip-wiring Jungle Inca trail to the Machu Picchu mountains, Greig is now in Bolivia, where he's enjoying some well deserved rest and relaxation after exploring the world for a few months.You can catch up with him on his Facebook page here or watch his video-blog on his website

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Insurancewith travel insurance policies are administered through Travel Administration Facilities a division of Travel Insurance Facilities Group.
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